What’s Home Energy Score™ and Why It’s Important
Learn how energy efficient your home is with the Department of Energy Home Energy Score™, which protects homeowners as well as prospective buyers and renters.
Residential energy efficiency measures like insulation and high-efficiency HVAC are often considered “invisible” investments. Unlike granite countertops, a great location, or solar panels, you cannot directly see insulation or HVAC systems. Instead, their value comes in the form of lower energy bills and improved occupant comfort.
Connecticut is currently working with Multiple Listing Services to incorporate green and energy-related fields into a property’s listing. This will allow home-sellers to market and showcase their efficiency investments using credible scores like the Home Energy Score. Research has shown that homes disclosing energy costs—even high costs—sold faster than comparable homes and closer to the asking price.
Additionally, the Score can make it easier to access financing products such as Fannie Mae’s HomeStyle Energy mortgage loan, FHA’s mortgage products, and even solar financing from the Connecticut Green Bank.
The Home Energy Score includes:
- An asset-based energy efficiency score on a scale of 1–10 (10 being the highly efficient), based on the home’s foundation, roof, walls, insulation, and windows, as well as the heating/cooling equipment
- A total-energy-use estimate, as well as estimates by fuel type assuming standard operating conditions and occupant behavior
- Recommendations for cost-effective improvements and associated annual cost saving estimates
- A “Score with Improvements” reflects the home’s expected score if cost-effective improvements are implemented
Why a Home with a Low Home Energy Score is Still Valuable
Four things to keep in mind if a home has a lower score:
- A score of “1” does not mean that a home is poorly built or inefficient. A beautiful home with efficient HVAC can still receive a low score if the home has a large floor plan where heat can escape or has insufficient insulation. A good analogy is the car-buying process. The score is similar to a miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating on a car. If a buyer is comparing a sedan and a pick-up truck, they would expect the pick-up truck to have a lower MPG rating. This does not make one vehicle better than the other; it just means that one is bigger and will likely use more energy!
- The Score estimates a home’s total energy use, not the energy use per square foot. A home with a low score is expected to use more energy per year than the average U.S. home. This means that a lower score could be a tradeoff a buyer would have to consider for a 4,000 square foot home with a beautiful view.
- Most investments into home improvements are made within the first two years after purchase. The Home Energy Score provides homeowners with a prioritized list of cost-effective energy efficiency measures that will help them save money and improve comfort.
- Studies have shown that homebuyers or renters appreciate having energy information about a property, regardless of the expected bills being high or a lower than Home Energy Score. The Score is just another tool for homeowners, home buyers, and renters to make a more informed decision.
How to Get A Connecticut Home Scored
The Home Energy Score™ is accessible to Connecticut residents in two ways:
Home Energy Solutions (HES) or Home Energy Solutions-Income Eligible (HES-IE) Programs
Connecticut’s premier home energy assessment programs provide about $1,000 in-home energy performance and basic weatherization measures in one visit. HES and HES-IE assessments include a Home Energy Score at no additional charge.
Find a Building Performance Institute (BPI) Certified Home Energy Score™ Assessor
Connecticut residents can get their home scored through a BPI assessor trained in providing the Home Energy Score. You can find an assessor near you using the DOE Find an Assessor Tool.
Where to Find More Information About the Home Energy Score™
Green Real Estate Education
Several national organizations offer educational courses throughout the year and are great resources related to selling green real estate.
NAR Green Designation
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has developed a green designation and benefits program designed for real estate agents.
Green Real Estate Marketing Resources
Successful marketing of green real estate is essential for sustainability to succeed. Find resources here to help you better position your green properties.